OK, I knew my last post would not appeal to everyone, but as I said in a comment to a comment, I take my wisdom wherever I can find it. Which happens to include astrology.
Because of my family’s interests, I grew up in a home that not only had huge picture books showing the treasures of the Sun King and Tutankhamen, but also books by Teilhard de Chardin, Krishnamurti, Alan Watts and Agatha Christie. The one common thread: Mystery. Life’s mystery. What makes us tick? What else is there? Travel, whether literally or metaphysically. That’s what my family does. We like to wonder and dream and think big and if there’s a UFO encounter thrown into the mix, that’s fine, too, but most importantly: Enjoy humanity.
So I knew my Sun sign at the age of 7, and pretty much knew when all the other Sun signs were, too. My grandma had my chart made for me, so I also knew that there is more to astrology than just Sun signs. (The whole solar system is in on the act.)
There are so many tools out there for self-discovery (like psychology, meditation, music, drugs) or even for understanding human evolution (like art, anthropology, biology, religion). You can be playing with a puppy or reading a biography. There’s always something to learn, to be inspired by. Some people prefer a hike up a mountain while others do Mountain pose in yoga class. The source doesn’t matter; the learning does.
Fiction can teach, too. Really good fiction grabs your heart and years later, you still think about the story, rekindling the feelings it first stirred in you. And if there was a lesson in it, then you have been reached and taught. Aesop’s fables are fiction that features talking animals, but we don’t get hung up on that; instead, we understand that it is metaphor and focus on the moral of the story.
If you like, astrology is fictional like a fable: Stories told about people using their birth dates and ancient mythology. A planet named after a Greco-Roman god of war describes your willingness and ability to do battle, to be macho, to fight for whatever is worth fighting for in your life. Another planet named after the messenger of the gods* shows how you handle communication in your own life and whether or not you think too much. The funny thing about this fiction is that it hits pretty darn close to the non-fictional home. But then, many fictional stories can do just that.
As a tool for self-discovery, for understanding a current difficulty or feeling, astrology is amazingly powerful, even as a made-up language based on made-up deities. I think it’s because it isn’t really that divorced from reality. A lot of the myths about the Greco-Roman gods are actually colorful rewrites of astronomical or natural events. For example, the story about Pluto stealing Demeter’s daughter away for a while every year, causing Demeter to lay the land barren until her daughter returned, describes the agricultural cycle in a dry climate perfectly. As astrological symbolism, the story represents Pluto forcing transformation through emotional upheaval (he’s efficient but not gentle).
We humans make associations which then become symbolism. Same thing with astrology. People over the millennia have seen expansion during a Jupiter influence and contraction during a Saturn and these have become astrological keywords.
As with anything we humans like to make up, this may or may not apply to all things at all times. The one thing I’ve learned in all my years of hanging out in the New Age section of the book store is that there too, ultimately, there is but one message: Love everyone (not everything), including yourself. And chill.
*) Speaking of which, Mercury is no longer retrograde. If you’ve been feeling stuck, especially with writing, you should be feeling unstuck now.